Each month, Bespoke runs a survey of 1,500 US consumers balanced to census. In the survey, we cover everything you can think of regarding the economy, personal finances, and consumer spending habits. We’ve now been running the monthly survey for more than two years, so we have historical trend data that is extremely valuable, and it only gets more valuable as time passes. All of this data gets packaged into our monthly Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report, which is included as part of our Pulse subscription package that is available for either $39/month or $365/year. We highly recommend trying out the service, as it includes access to model portfolios and additional consumer reports as well. If you’re not yet a Pulse member, click here to start a 30-day free trial now!
Since the election last November, pretty much all of the economic indicators we’re able to track in our monthly survey turned more bullish. In our survey prior to this month, however, things dipped slightly. Coming into this month, we were very interested to see if this dip continued or if it was just a blip. Once we got the survey data back, we were happy to see that it was more of a blip than the start of a dip.
Below we highlight three charts from our Pulse survey this month that show the bounce back. The first chart is our “job loss concern” tracker. We ask consumers how concerned they are that they will lose their jobs. A high reading is bad for the economy because when people are concerned that they’ll lose their job, they’re much less likely to spend money, especially on discretionary items. As shown in the chart, our tracker actually made a new low in our survey series going back to 2014, meaning consumers are the least worried they’ve been about losing their jobs in quite some time.
The second chart we’re featuring from this month’s Pulse report is expected spending on discretionary items. We mentioned above that employment concerns have a big impact on discretionary spending. And with employment concerns at new lows, it’s no surprise that our expected discretionary spending tracker hit a new high in our survey. Plans for spending “over the next few months” have been ticking higher now for more than six months.
While employment is healthy and spending is expected to increase, not all was rosy in this month’s Pulse report. One thing we’re seeing is that late payments on credit cards are starting to increase. We provide more analysis of why this might be happening in our monthly Pulse report, but this is definitely something we’ll be monitoring in the months ahead.
To track additional consumer sentiment trends, click here to start a 30-day free trial to our Pulse service now!